Ljubljana musings

Intense meeting for most of the day. In one of the lighter moments I asked our host if he agreed with my alternative history thesis, that if Serbia and Slovenia had done a deal in the late 1980s, then they could have kept Yugoslavia together and the whole federation would have been in the EU today.

He agreed with me vehemently. I then asked if he also agreed with my identification of the last congress of the Yugoslav Communist Party in 1990, when the Slovenian and Croatian delegates walked out in disgust at the Serbian communists’ domination of proceedings, as the turning point.

I had forgotten that I was talking to a former dissident. He disagreed with me, saying that since multi-party democracy was coming in all the then Yugoslav republics within a few months, a disagreement within a single (if important) party was not so crucial. As someone who had been at the forefront of Slovenia’s drive for independence, he reckoned it could all have been put together again at any point for almost all the rest of 1990, until December, when the Serbian government stole $1.3 billion from the Yugoslav national budget. After that it was all over; why should the richer republics, Slovenia and Croatia, subsidise the Yugoslav army’s plan to attack them?


Walking around Ljubljana later on I came across Plečnik’s memorial obelisk in French Revolution Square, which contains the ashes of a French soldier killed in 1813, “fighting for our freedom” as the Slovenes put it. I doubt if there is any other country in Europe which has as unequivocally positive a view of the Napoleonic period.

One thought on “Ljubljana musings

  1. I enjoyed A Wizard Abroad, which I read recently; at the same time, I agree that the earlier ones are better. I liked the younger Nita & Kit a good bit better.

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